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The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

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Given Rebecca Miller’s artistic pedigree — she’s the daughter of Arthur, wife of Daniel Day-Lewis, and writer-director of the fine 2002 indie film Personal Velocity, based on her own story collection — it’s hard not to yearn for more out of her first novel, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. The protagonist, Pippa, is a strong, doting 50-year-old wife (”she resembled a Madonna in a Flemish painting, but rounder, juicier”) who moves with her 80-year-old husband into a retirement community. There, she mostly picks up a sleepwalking problem. But then a solid half of the book, strangely, turns into a flashback detailing Pippa’s rather standard life up to that point (drugs, affairs, the usual). The novel is a fast, innocuous read — but is it wrong to expect something a little heftier? C+

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